Savanna (also called “Savannah”) goats originated in South Africa in the 1950s, by breeding Boer goats with local landrace goats. In 1993, the Savanna Goat Society was created in South Africa, to recognize and perpetuate the breed, and within a year or two they were being imported to the United States.
Table of Contents
- Savanna Goat Uses
- Savanna Goat Characteristics
- Raising Savanna Goats
- Savanna Goat Shelter
- Breeding Savanna Goat
- Savanna Goats Price
- Choosing a Savanna Goat
- Savanna Goats Breeders
- Difference between Boer and savanna meat goat breeds By Hamiisi Semanda
Due to extensive crossbreeding, purebred Savanna goats are rare outside of South Africa, and conservationists recommend keeping conservation herds to preserve their status and explore desirable traits in the breed.
Savanna Goat Uses
Savanna goats were developed to be a low-input meat goat, able to adapt to rough climates and poor forage. They were also specifically developed for their rare white hair and dark skin. White goats are a particularly popular for meat in large parts of Africa, but most white goats have skin that is extremely sensitive to the sun and requires protection. The Savanna’s dark skin protects it from the sun and makes it easier to care for than other goats with white hair.
As meat goats, they are favored for having tender, flavorful meat and a balanced carcass with little fat.
Savanna Goat Characteristics
The high litter weaning weight, easy breeding, and relatively low input of Savannas is the main reason for their economic value and popularity in the US.
Raising Savanna Goats
Savanna goats were bred to be an independent, low-input breed. They are excellent foragers, and are able to grow rapidly with little supplemental food or nutrition. They are resistant to parasites, and tolerate heat and cold well. Females give birth in the open and are excellent mothers. Despite this independence and little need for human intervention, Savanna goats have a mellow temperament and are easier to handle than many other meat goat breeds.
Savanna Goat Shelter
Savanna goats are hardy and adaptable, and, once they are acclimated, they prefer to spend nights out in their pasture. However, they do require a shelter in rough weather. In mild climates, savanna goats can be perfectly happy in a sturdy, three-sided shelter with a packed earth floor and clean bedding.
Savanna Goat Fencing
Savanna goats are a large, active, robust breed. They need a sturdy fence, both to contain the goats and to exclude predators. Their fence should be at least 6 feet tall, with posts buried at least 2 feet or cement footing, and posts placed at 8 foot (or closer) intervals. If landscape features make it likely that goats will climb or jump the fence, an electric wire at the top and bottom will help to better contain these tough goats.
Breeding Savanna Goat
While Savanna goats are a meat goat, extensive crossbreeding in North America has made purebreds relatively scarce. This means that there may be more value in breeding Savanna goats than in growing them for meat.
Purebred Savanna goats may produce offspring that are not pure white, and thus don’t conform to the breed standard. However, such goats can still be registered as American Royal, a purebred Savanna in which color is deemed acceptable, as long as it conforms to all other Savanna standards.
Savanna Goats Price
Purebred Savanna goats are rare in the United States, and typically cost $750-$2,000, depending on the sex and the animal. Savanna/Boer crosses are much more common, and cost about half as much.
Choosing a Savanna Goat
It’s always important to choose the best goats for your stock, but it’s particularly important with a breed as rare and expensive as the Savanna goat.
Whenever possible, visit the breeder in person. A good breeder will welcome such a visit, since they care about the welfare of their goats, and want to check you out as well. On the farm, ask if you can have a look around. You should look at the goats’ pasture, shelter, and overall living environment, which should be relatively clean, well-kept, and healthy.
All their goats (and any other livestock, for that matter) should have good coats and good body weight, with no visibly ill or unhealthy animals. Get a good look at your goat’s parents, if possible. If a breeder won’t let you visit or look around, it’s cause to be suspicious.
If you can’t visit the farm in person, ask the breeder if they can give you contact information for other people who have purchased Savannas from them. The Savanna community is small, and people are usually eager to share their experiences, so it should not be a problem to contact other people who have bought goats from this particular breeder and ask about their goats’ health, habits, and disposition.
You can order whole herds of Savanna goats online from third party sellers like Amazon and Alibaba, but it’s a bad idea to take that risk and buy expensive goats from around the world sight unseen.
No matter where your Savanna comes from, here are the things to know and check before you buy:
Savanna Goats Breeders
The official Savanna registry is kept by Pedigree International, which keeps a list of active breeders here: Active Savanna Breeders